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Local Farm Bureau members meet with D.C. lawmakers

Stevens County Farm Bureau members Elizabeth Golombiecki, fifth from the left in front row, and Martha Koehl fourth from the left in front row, met with Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith; members of Congress Collin Peterson, Tom Emmer, Jason Lewis and Erik Paulson and staff members from the offices of Tim Walz, Betty McCollum and Rick Nolan. They are pictured with other Farm Bureau members. Submitted photo

Seventeen Farm Bureau members from across Minnesota met with their members of Congress in Washington, D.C. during the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation's (MFBF) Farmers to Washington, D.C. trip March 5-7.

Stevens County Farm Bureau members Elizabeth Golombiecki and Martha Koehl met with Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith; members of Congress Collin Peterson, Tom Emmer, Jason Lewis and Erik Paulson and staff members from the offices of Tim Walz, Betty McCollum and Rick Nolan.

During the meetings, attendees discussed Farm Bureau's farm bill priorities including the importance of keeping nutrition as part of the farm bill and protecting risk management programs and crop insurance. They discussed the importance of keeping and expanding market opportunities through international trade. They also discussed the need for expanded ethanol usage to E15 year-round; the need to work towards solutions for affordable and available health care, mental health and opioid assistance; agricultural labor reform; and delisting the wolves from the Endangered Species Act, a Farm Bureau news release said.

In addition, attendees met with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Perdue's senior staff.

"This experience outfits our leaders with the tools they need to become strong advocates for agriculture and rural Minnesota," president Kevin Paap said in the news release . "It allows them to share their stories, build relationships and bring Farm Bureau policy to life for our Farm Bureau members. It instills the importance of discussing issues that are important to us. If we are not sharing our story, then someone else will be."

Trip attendees included, county Farm Bureau leaders, state board of director members, and Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Committee contest finalists. During their trip members also interacted with Farm Bureau members from across the U.S.

YF&R contest finalists earn this trip by competing in the 2018 Discussion Meet held at the MFBF LEAP Conference in January. In addition to the Washington, D.C. trip, state contest winners receive a $500 cash prize, a trip to the AFBF YF&R national leadership conference and a trip to compete in the AFBF contests. For more information about the MFBF YF&R program, contact local county offices or visit fbmn.org.

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